Reflection Blog – Virtual Symposium

This class has done more than any other class in my MLIS journey in filling me with energy and passion about my future career. I’ve enjoyed learning about new technologies, delving into participatory service, and connecting with fellow peers.

As I reflect on this semester’s course readings, I appreciate the phrase Stephens (2014) asked us to no longer utter:  “We’ve always done it this way.” I’m trying to incorporate this in my library job, in small ways. Changing my work habits little by little goes a long way in accomplishing this goal, moving my own thinking away from doing the same thing because that’s just how it’s done. It helps that I have a supportive manager and colleagues who are open to changes in the workflow, because Stephens (2014) warns that people who are roadblocks to creativity and change do a lot of harm in a “climate of rapid change and tight budgets.”

Another article I found effective was Anonymous (2016) and their take on who who want to become a librarian. Because a library was a personal experience for them, and even when faced with criticism from friends and family (how many of us can say we haven’t been side-eyed a little when you tell someone from another profession that you’re studying to be a librarian), that doing the thing you love is worth it.

I’ve been lucky to build a wonderful network of people who’ve supported my library profession. Henry (2012) reminds us that it’s possible to promote yourself without being sleazy. In order to succeed in doing this, you have to have honesty, and build relationships, and ensure that the relationship isn’t a “one way street” (Henry (2012). These are good reminders are we stand on a precipice, ready to test our wings and fly into the library world, carrying our diplomas proudly (I still have a ways to go, so don’t applaud me just yet!).

Finally, as I build my virtual symposium, sitting in bed with a terrible chest cold, I imagine the various articles and stories I encountered in this course as prized possessions that I will refer to often to remind me or nudge me or sustain me whenever I am feeling a bit sour on the subject of librarianship. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as me. Enjoy the holiday break, and please take a peak at my short symposium of my favorite takeaways, Game of Thrones-style (What? I mentioned I was sick, and I needed to be diverted from the coughing by watching a medieval drama…and Jon Snow).

Prezi Virtual Symposium:


Anonymous (2016). Who would be a librarian now? You know what? I’ll have a go. Retrieved from

Henry, A. (2012). How to promote yourself (without being sleazy). Retrieved from

Stephens, M. (2014). Always doesn’t live here anymore. Retrieved from

Director’s Brief – Embracing Open Access


As defined by SPARC, “Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.”

My Director’s Brief (link below) is reflecting on the steps taken to embrace and cultivate Open Access in the European community, and how an academic library in the United States can be inspired by and learn from the EU to promote Open Access.

I was inspired to do more research on Open Access when I was a part of a committee at my library to create a library display during Open Access week in October. I saw the Cape Breton University library post on the page about the cost of research, showing the price of articles for students and faculty if the library didn’t provide a subscription to journal article databases. I thought this was an effective way to show how high the prices were, and to perhaps get others to think about alternatives.  So we created our own display showing the cost of research (below is a picture of my humble display – go gentle on me, this was my first. :-)) This director’s brief is about the alternatives. Open Access is the alternative. Look into it.


Link to PDF: Abeyta_DirectorsBrief_Info287

Library as Classroom

In exploring the module of utilizing the library as classroom, I thought a lot about this small project I’m leading as part of the PTA in my kids’ school. I was asked to run the book club for 4th and 5th graders. While I immediately said yes, I realized I had several road blocks that made this prospect challenging. First, the book club could only be 20 minutes because it had to be done during recess. Second, the 4th and 5th graders didn’t RSVP for the book club so I wouldn’t know if 40 kids were coming, or only 3 very eager book clubbers. So, what to do? As Stephens (2016) says so eloquently in his lecture to our class, it’s very easy to think in terms of “I can’t do X because I have to do Y.” But the unknown X of not being able to have a predictable reading group made me nervous. Part of my plan, which I didn’t realize at the time, was to embrace the “messy learning” concept by Block (2014) in miniature. Because I couldn’t control the number of participants who attended, I decided to include as the first activity a “Who Am I” game, where I’d write the names of characters from Roald Dahl books (which was the theme for our book club) on a post-it, stick it on their forehead, and have the kids play a guessing game as they walked into the library. This proved to be effective, and in keeping with the messy learning, I let the students choose their initial activity: they could play the guessing game, vote on their favorite characters on a whiteboard, or read a selection of Roald Dahl books quietly while waiting for their peers to stroll in. I enjoy this buffet-style way of learning about a topic, and appreciate that the author understands that at first, the project might involve “random ideas, questions, changing minds, and students who feel lost” (Block, 2014). I got similar reactions to students reluctantly strolling into the library, but once they felt comfortable with one of the activities, and once everyone was settled, we had a wonderful discussion about Roald Dahl and how the kids felt about his books and their handling of topics such as bullying, values and kindness.

In relation to libraries, I like the questions that are asked in this module’s readings. In “Curating Learning Experiences: A Future Role For Librarians?” Matthews (2013) asks how “will we (and our users) define services and collections in the future?” In particular, saying yes to purchasing technology that one might not see as being directly related to the library’s core mission is essential if we are to prioritize pedagogy and having the library be a true partner in the learning environment. In the article “The Library As A Classroom For Library Staff,” Pewhairangi (2016) asks how learning can be designed to fit the needs of unique libraries, for staff who might be part-time and time is limited for training skilled workers. This can be accomplished by designing courses that are in a format that’s easy to access, and timed (around 60 minutes) for staff who only have a little time for professional development. In line with educating library staff, in the article “Learning to Learn,” Stephens (2013) asks us to set aside time for staff learning, and make it a year-round process. At my library, the instructional librarians (IL) are currently hosting a monthly IL pedagogy reading group. We discuss IL articles in peer-reviewed journals, and talk about ways in which to restructure our training and assessment to have the maximum impact on the students at our college. All staff are welcome, and as an MLIS student, I find this to be incredibly useful for my own career and educational development.


Mobile Technology and Libraries – Help Me, Help You

“I have the world of information in my hand.” This quote, which was said to the author, our professor, in the article “Serving the user when and where they are: Hyperlinked libraries” really serves to underline the point that a mobile phone has become an integral part of our lives. The ability to make dinner plans with friends (via text message, phone call, video chat or via social media), make restaurant reservations, order food, pay for food, rate food (I’m hungry, FYI) all on one small smart device is still mind-boggling! These magical handheld devices touch all aspects of our lives (not just food-related), so it’s interesting to ponder the relevancy in the library world.

How do library patrons interact with library technology in our mobile world? In the blog 23mobilethings, many library apps that pertain to patrons are highlighted. Patrons can check out books via their phones, read ebooks on their mobile device and stay informed of library events and fun library news via social media. One of my favorite app ideas that I hope to try one day are the wayfinding and geocaching apps that are available at libraries. In “Let the future go” Weinberger (2014) reiterates a point I made in a previous blog post; that we need library data to be visible on the web, by making API’s that allow the communication of software (which could be used in the mobile arena), allowing linked data to show up on the web (thus allowing patrons to access all that precious metadata I catalog all day long), and allowing libraries to show up in a patron’s web search on their favorite search platform.  One cool bit of mobile technology for library patrons is the ability to stay notified of library events when they enter the library. The “beacon” technology utilizes bluetooth to update patrons on library programming, and daily specials at the cafe. Notably, this mobile technology takes away the excuse that the patron wasn’t informed of the library event. It’s easier to engage in an event when you’re physically available in the library and are able to participate (rather than seeing the message on your Facebook feed when you’re scrolling past the library posts at 1am in bed).

However, perhaps selfishly, I thought about mobile applications in the library environment that could help me, the librarian.  Having worked in the back room (technical services, always called the “garden level,” not the basement) of libraries long enough, I love looking at technology that makes life easier for us librarians. This app called mobile worklists was designed by Innovative Interfaces to help librarians with weeding projects, to take inventory, create lists for special collection, relocation projects, and other functions where you can scan barcodes directly into your mobile device and interact with that object. I worked with the product manager who designed it and can attest to her ability to think creatively about ways in which access services and technical services library staff could use mobile devices to create a more productive environment in the library. This nifty video helps illustrate its uses:

Finally, in thinking about how this technology helps us, the article “Meet the tabletarians” gets right at the heart of what mobile devices allow librarians to accomplish. Mobile means that librarians can step out from behind the reference desk or the back room, and go to where the users are; thus further the communications between librarian and patron. That’s something that is easy to imagine when we have the “world of information” in our hands.

Technology Plan – Using YouTube to Connect and Engage the Library Community

Goals and Objectives for Technology

SMC Library YouTube Channel

The library at Saint Mary’s College of California (SMC) utilizes social media to engage its patrons, and communicate the library’s services. The library offers tutorials and services via its library webpage, with varying degrees of success, but these are videos that are not currently on YouTube.

After seeing the social media engagement increase on the library’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, the library could benefit from maintaining its own YouTube channel, called the Saint Mary’s College (SMC) Library YouTube channel. This page will link tutorials, mini educational courses and fun library news and programming into one area. The SMC library has a group of 10 librarians who collaborate regularly on projects, and collectively create posts for social media. These librarians would launch the SMC Library YouTube channel, and regularly post videos to the page.

From reviewing literature, it is clear that libraries are using online tools successfully. Cho (2013) “encourages librarians to view YouTube as a technology that could serve a number of purposes: instructional, promotion and marketing, as well as a shared repository space for special collections.” While YouTube could be considered a “video repository” (Jones & Cuthrell, 2011), it is considered a social media site due to the site’s ability to allow sharing and commenting of videos. This extra level of participation makes this the perfect social media site for the library, allowing the excellent library staff at SMC library to interact with the library community at large.

The library will benefit from this project in the following ways:

  1. The undergraduate and graduate students, according to a 2015 Pew Research study, are the heaviest users of YouTube. By engaging with students on social media platforms that are popular, the SMC Library has a higher chance of increasing the participants who view online videos and tutorials.
  2. Library staff are strained with time-consuming in-person classes, lessons and tours related to the library. Creating YouTube videos will save time and resources and allow staff time to work on other needed tasks and programs.
  3. SMC Library needs to track metrics as a way to measure the level of engagement. By utilizing YouTube analytics, they can be transparent with the campus and library administrators and provide useful information on library use and interest.
  4. Faculty can integrate the YouTube tutorials created by the SMC Library into their classes, by embedding the videos into their lesson plans, and including the YouTube URLs into their Moodle courses.
  5. Library staff at the reference desk can send links to YouTube tutorials for reference questions. This step also helps alleviate redundant work, as staff will all be able to point to a URL on YouTube instead of rehashing the same question every time.

Description of Community

Saint Mary’s College is made up of 4000 undergraduate and graduate students (Saint Mary’s College, n.d.), many of whom use the library for research, to check out books and media, and utilize the library space for group or silent study. Faculty also use the library for their own research needs. YouTube videos will be helpful to faculty for their courses and to increase their own knowledge of the library. For example, certain faculty are often not aware of the resources available within the library. By engaging with them via YouTube, the SMC Library can increase its communication with faculty. Certain videos, such as library tours and library introduction tutorials, will be essential for new faculty and new incoming (Freshman AND transfer) students in the library. Videos on higher-level research will be useful for graduate students. Certain videos, such as speaker series, may also be useful for an audience outside of the college community.

Action Brief

Convince the library staff that by utilizing YouTube as an educational and informational library tool they will reach a greater number of patrons, which will increase library engagement because it is imperative we try new ways to attract, interest, and educate the library community.

Evidence and Resources

Anderson, M. (2015). 5 facts about online videos, for YouTube’s 10th birthday. Retrieved from

Cho, A., (2013). YouTube and academic libraries: Building a digital collection. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship. Retrieved from:

Elegant Themes (2017, April 27). 9 Best screen capture software for video tutorials and client walkthroughs in 2017. Retrieved from

Jones, T., & Cuthrell, K. (2011). YouTube: Educational potentials and pitfalls. Computers in the Schools28(1), 75-85.

New York Public Library (n.d.). The New York Public Library. Retrieved from
Saint Mary’s College (n.d.). SMC facts and figures. Retrieved from


In line with the Saint Mary’s College Library vision to support and enable knowledge creation and academic learning, the mission of the SMC Library YouTube channel is to engage and educate the library community by embracing technology that can be used to increase knowledge, and enrich the mind.


The library staff, consisting of 10 librarians, will be in responsible for creating YouTube videos.

Access Services: 

Access services will be in responsible for creating videos related to:

  • Checkouts
  • Library tour
  • Study rooms
  • Inter-library Loan (ILL)
  • Link+

Subject librarians

Subject librarians may design videos related to:

  • Library research
  • Paper writing tips and tricks
  • Library Databases
  • Research specific to their area of expertise

Archives and Special Collections

The library and staff in the archives and special collections department will be responsible for creating and maintaining videos for:

  • Digital collection
  • Digital repository
  • Highlighting special collections


While there is no formal programming manager or librarian, library staff should coordinate with IT services add content to the YouTube page for:

  • The Library speaker series
  • Videos of Conference speakers
  • Library events

Video ideas should be vetted by colleagues (email all colleagues, including staff, in the library), who can offer valuable advice. Ideas can be shared during the by-weekly meetings, and should be done consistently to avoid redundant videos from being posted. Some potential

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service

Fortunately, creating videos and maintaining a YouTube channel can be done without using any money from the library budget. It is up to the manager for every staff member who wishes to create a YouTube video to ensure library staff have the needed time and training to create videos.

Other technology consideration include tutorial creation software. This will involve spending a portion of the library budget. This budget line item can be looked for in the gift fund or programming budget. Library will need to use screencasting software (Elegant Themes, 2017) such as:

  • QuickTime Pro ($30)
  • Camtasia ($200)
  • SnagIt ($50)
  • Screenflow ($100)

Action Steps & Timeline

Library administrators will need allow time for staff to meet in the Spring semester to set up training and set aside time for staff to create videos. Once the Spring semester is over, the quieter summer months-when there are fewer students on campus-can be used to create the videos. All library staff should feel comfortable with the idea of using YouTube as a communication tool. However, staff should not feel that they have to create the videos if they need more time for other projects. YouTube should be used as a tool to alleviate the pressure for librarians.

Once the first videos are posted, library staff should plan on posting videos on a regular basis. From viewing larger public libraries and their YouTube pages, such as The New York Public Library (New York Public Library, n.d.), they choose to post an average of one video a week. Because SMC is a college and has a smaller reach than NYPL, it seems plausible to try and post one video a month for the Fall and Spring semesters, with more videos added as needed. Librarians should meet on a regular basis to decide on the ideas for the forthcoming videos to ensure too much time has not elapsed.

Staffing Considerations

While existing library staff should be able to create videos and maintain the SMC YouTube channel, it will be necessary, at times, to include IT services in helping to record the videos (especially for any speakers visiting the library, or to record a conference).

Training for SMC Library YouTube page

There are tutorials on YouTube for publishing videos

To create a video, the library will create a subject guide where training tools will be posted to help librarians create online videos. The library should also purchase books that librarians can refer to for help in creating online tutorials, such as Creating online tutorials: A practical guide for librarians

The ALAstore offers courses on creating online tutorials. Library managers can sign up staff for courses when they are available:

YouTube also offers help in publishing videos on to their page:

Promotion & Marketing for SMC Library YouTube page

This will be an imperative step in the success of this plan. In order to successfully market the the new videos uploaded to the SMC Library YouTube page, library staff will need to do the following:

  1. Include the SMC YouTube page logo in all library communications to ensure potential subscribers know where to click to find the SMC Library channel.
  2. Include the SMC YouTube logo on all library catalog links.
  3. Embed and advertise new YouTube videos on the library catalog home page.
  4. Email faculty and staff to inform them of the new SMC Library YouTube page.
  5. Set aside a date, in the beginning of the Fall semester, as the date for the go-live of the SMC Library YouTube page. On this date, post information about the YouTube page to the campus digital signage, and post flyers throughout the library.
  6. To increase the subscribers for the YouTube page, include a drawing where a special prizes can be won (Amazon gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, or gift cards to the campus bookstore). Once a user subscribes to the YouTube page, their name will be added to the drawing and several subscribers can win prizes.
  7. During Freshmen orientation, provide links to all of the library social media pages, including YouTube.
  8. During a speaker series session, or conference, SMC library staff can advertise the YouTube page to ensure participants can view the video at their leisure. After the videos are posted to YouTube, SMC library staff can email faculty and the campus community to allow participants who were unable to attend to view the YouTube videos.
  9. In order to ensure that anyone searching for relevant videos is able to locate the SMC Library YouTube page, proper titles and indexing (tagging of videos) should be used.


Evaluation is a key component for this plan. It allows the library to report its success and level of engagement to the library administrators. YouTube allows video creators to view analytics for each video posted and to analyze the channel as a whole, along with individual videos. Some analytic options include:

  • Watch time
  • Audience retention
  • Demographics
  • Traffic sources
  • Devices
  • Subscribers
  • Likes and Dislikes

This rich source of data should allow the library to gather metrics to evaluate the efficacy of the SMC YouTube channel.

Depending on the level of engagement, the library might decide to market the SMC Library YouTube page to a larger audience. For example, SMC is located in a small town of Moraga. SMC library might decide to market library events posted to YouTube to the residents of Moraga and nearby towns. When the town holds events, the SMC library staff can be present to advertise the YouTube page.

Hyperlinked Environments

My niece made fun of me for using Facebook. She said,  “Nunu, join SnapChat so we can keep in touch when I’m in college. Nobody I know uses Facebook!” This was news to me when she made her playfully snarky comment, and also made me feel like I was 100 years old. It made me ponder my social media usage. Where I once thought everyone was using what I was using (except for those stubborn holdouts, like my friends who say, “I don’t even own a TV” that I acknowledge by rolling my eyes (lovingly of course, because to each his own)), I’m realizing that social media usage is different depending on so many different variables. For the module, Hyperlinked Libraries, I dug into the social media research conducted by the Pew Research Center. Studying the social media habits of teens and adults provides incredible insight into the infiltration of computers and smartphones into our every day lives. The Pew Research Center’s studies provide rich data for us future librarians to help in studying the usage of social media, not just because it’s helpful for libraries to engage in social media (this is a no-brainer in 2017, don’t you think?), but because we can learn about who uses the various platforms, and how the user engagement ebbs and flows with every new platform that comes along.

One study noted that 65% of adults use social media. Those numbers, from 2015, have surely increased. On Twitter’s 10 year anniversary, the Pew Research Center listed some facts about Twitter, with one emphasizing the differences in demographics that utilize Twitter. For example, the Pew article found that “The Twitterverse doesn’t always mirror the real world.” In fact, the article indicated that a higher number users were “young, urban, African-American, and better educated.” However, in general, the demographics of social media are pretty even, with various races in the United States evenly represented. For teens, social media is an integral part of their lives. In revisiting my niece’s comments on Facebook, this study shone some light on the reasons for why she uses certain social media platforms. Interestingly, “Teens from more affluent households are somewhat more likely than those from the least affluent homes to say they visit Snapchat most often, with 14% of those from families earning more than $75,000 saying Snapchat is their top site, compared with 7% of those whose families earn less than $30,000 annually.” This shows that she and her friends, all of whom come from higher-income brackets, prefer Snapchat. It is staggering, the amount of teens that use social media, and how they will become adults relying on this tool for news, information, community, education, and entertainment. The study from 2015 adds, “When asked a general question about whether they used social media, three-quarters (76%) of teens use social media, and 81% of older teens use the sites, compared with 68% of teens 13 to 14.”

How does this relate to libraries? And how can libraries harness this rich data and learn about their patrons’ needs? Yesterday’s teens, now Millennial adults, are using the library more than ever. Libraries, by changing their programming, and adjusting their collection and services to meet the needs of young adults, are finding that Millennials are more inclined than previous generations to utilize the public library. Libraries are adapting to each new generation, and utilizing social media to engage and increase patron engagement. Not only is it important to communicate via social media, libraries also are seeing the rising interest in usage of their library catalogs, as well as other library technologies that are of interest to patrons. Our challenge is to keep these patrons interested in the library, and to create that true hyperlinked environment that enriches our patrons’ lives, one that keeps them coming back again and again.

Participatory Service and Transparency

In reading the course material for participatory service and transparency, I wish I had been recording my facial expressions. As I viewed a slide for Stephens’ lecture (Stephens, 2017) that read “We designed our libraries for people, not books,” I’m pretty sure my eyes widened, my eyebrows shot up, and I sat up straighter in my chair at Starbucks. What a wonderful idea to add to the discussion on participatory service, and transparency.

In the participatory service angle, the article that interested me the most was “Making Libraries Visible on the Web” (Fons, 2016). The author, Ted Fons, is a friend and former colleague, and all-around genuinely awesome person. He discusses in this article one of my favorite library subjects: linked data. As part of participatory service, he asks us to think of our metadata as it relates to findability and making this data attainable from sources other than our silo’d library catalogs. He emphasizes that, “Making libraries more visible on the web has two benefits: improving the service for the ones who are already committed to the library—they use search engines, too—and giving libraries the opportunity to reach those who never—or only sometimes—think about the library.” If you’re interested in learning more about linked data and the BibFrame project (and want to geek out like I do anytime someone mentions anything new about metadata), here’s a video that I found very useful when I was trying to learn more about this subject:

On the library transparency side, Kenney (2015) writes in “Lessons from Seattle’s Failed Bid to Rebrand its Public Library” about the corporate culture infiltrating a public library, and how the two are not quite a match made in heaven. Seattle Public Library (SPL) was set to spend around $2 million dollars on their rebranding effort, an effort that was roundly criticized. SPL surveyed their patrons, which is commendable, but the resounding answer from those constituents was that this rebranding effort was a waste of money. There is a dichotomy between the corporate, buzzword world that we are accustomed to and the public library. When I worked in a library software company, I very much felt that our mission was in line with libraries, and that helping people and the community was paramount. However, when the company was purchased by a private equity firm, I felt that the heavy corporate culture began to clash heavily with the library world and librarians in general. At one conference, the new CEO got up to speak and was introduced to the audience of librarians via flashing lights and rock music. I sat in the audience, mortified, unsure if this was an Apple iPhone launch or an introduction to some software updates for the library discovery layer. It was so clear that these two worlds were opposites. The library has its own culture that is unique, special, and powerful. A culture that puts patrons first. As Kenney (2015) writes, “whatever it is we are proposing, it has to be about creating a better library for the public.”


Billey, A. (2015, December 2). Essential BIBFRAME. Retrieved from

Fons, T. (2016). Making libraries visible on the web. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Kenney, B. (2015). Lessons from Seattle’s failed bid to rebrand its public library. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from

Context Book Review – It’s Complicated

In It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, Danah Boyd (2014) describes the increasing presence of social media in the every day lives of teenagers. Teens, Boyd claims, use social media to harness the full possibility of their social lives. Boyd has a sympathetic ear for teens and their need to connect with their peers in a social manner, using a term the author coined called “networked publics.” Boyd (2014) cautions adults and parents to beware of the news media frightening parents and educators into thinking every new social media application as being the new big and scary negative influence on teens. Instead, she asks that we resist being dismissive of the ways that teens use social media. She also offers us research that shows alternatives to the negativity expressed by researchers postulating social media as the harbinger of doom. Boyd (2014) instead asserts that, “Collaboratively, adults and youth can help create a networked world that we all want to live in.”

At the time this book was published, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr were established social media sites, with SnapChat and Instagram gaining popularity. Boyd (2014) notes that as adults begin using new social media platforms, the social media application becomes less of a scary new threat, and is instead replaced by a another social media menace. The author emphasizes that the news media will always discover a new social media application that is supposedly the new peril to teens. In the book, Boyd (2014) notes:

Most myths are connected to real incidents or rooted in data that are blown out of proportion or are deliberately exaggerated to spark fear. Media culture exaggerates this dynamic, magnifying anxieties and reinforcing fears. For adults to hear the voices of youth, they must let go of their nostalgia and suspend their fears. This is not easy.

So what are teens sharing on social media? A 2013 Pew Research Center report (Madden et al.,  2013) gives us some interesting numbers. This table shown below displays the distinct differences between 2006 and 2012, with 91% of teens posting a selfie, and over half sharing their email address. These numbers show a continuous increase through the years.

Figure 1 teens and social media

Boyd’s sunny perspective on teens using their social media platforms to gain a modicum of control in their lives and to find creative ways of being social is a marked contrast from the recent articles that have invaded my social media world. The most notable of all the articles in recent months is one shared by many of my friends, with the provocative title of  “Have smartphones destroyed a generation?”(Twenge, 2017). Written three years after Boyd’s book, Twenge (2017) offers a searing critique of smartphones and their impact on the “iGen” generation, a generation born in the years between 1995 and 2012. Twenge (2017) argues that smartphones are leading to an increase in depression amongst this generation, and a decrease in dating and a desire to socialize in person. The effect of smartphones is seen in incremental ways, such as teenagers getting driver’s licenses at a later age, and a decrease in the number of teens being employed in part-time jobs. Some of these correlations are tied to a change in parenting styles and a shift in our culture, but Twenge (2017) makes an interesting argument in favor of limiting smartphones in the younger generation. As I think through these various viewpoints,  I can’t stress the irony of seeing this post on a social media app (Facebook), nor deny that I perhaps wouldn’t have been notified of this article had I not been on social media. I also realize that while I write about this book about teenagers and social media, my blog itself is a form of social media. The meta layers on this post are confounding!

What can we in the library world draw from Boyd’s (2017) research? I believe it’s helpful to engage with teenagers in a way that is accepting of and even celebrating their need for social media. In our course readings, Roush (2005) added that humans expect to be connected on a regular basis. He adds “We’re using this newly portable computing power to connect with others in ways no one predicted–and we won’t be easily parted from our new tools.” For a library to not advertise their services online or keep current with what new social media platforms teenagers are using would lead to a communication blind spot for a key demographic. An academic library wanting to showcase their newly renovated study rooms might find it useful to use SnapChat to market this service. A public library that is building their manga collection could use Instagram to showcase some titles. For libraries, social media is an absolutely essential part in staying connected with its patrons, many of whom might be teenagers.

This book assuages our fears about teens and their social media usage. However, while Boyd (2014) provides us with a refreshing point-of-view that is counter to current social media news, I find that sometimes her perspective was too one-sided. It’s hard to discount the argument made by Twenge (2017) when she posits, “Adolescence is a key time for developing social skills; as teens spend less time with their friends face-to-face, they have fewer opportunities to practice them.” I think the most difficult part is navigating the social media landscape and finding that right balance of keeping in touch and learning new things from your peers, while making sure to unplug from the smartphone when there are chances for one-on-one interactions.



Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. Yale University Press.

Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. (2013). Teens, social media, and privacy. Pew Research Center21, 2-86. Retrieved from

Roush, W. (2005). Social machines: Computing means connecting. MIT Technology Review 108(8), 44. Retrieved from

Twenge, J. (2017). Have smartphones ruined a generation? The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Reflecting on the Hyperlinked Library – The Space Between Us

The readings for the the Hyperlinked Library seemed daunting to me, at first. I struggled with the possibilities of a hyperlinked library. I’m sometimes complimented for being practical and being a pragmatist (I make a great “get a grip” friend), but I think that side of my brain struggles with these concepts that seem abstract at first. I kept saying to myself as I was reading the materials, “how does a hyperlinked library actually work?”

It wasn’t until I read the chapter in the Cluetrain Manifesto (Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger, 2001) that things started to click into place. And by the time I got to the excellent video of the Library of the future in plain English, I was smiling at the many parallels  in the readings found in Module 3. Levine et al. (2001) opine that we live and work in “forts” where we are confined to the job that we are hired to do, and look upon the org chart of a company as a way to add hierarchies and create a divide in our communication. Booth, McDonald and Tiffen (2010) further this idea by mentioning the divide that is created by the library org chart. Why are they going on and on about org charts? Because structured org charts are the opposite of what a hyperlinked library represents. Stephens (2001) presents us with an alternative viewpoint from the silo’d organization. He elucidates that “Creating connections and community for library users is paramount in the Hyperlinked Library model” (2001). Levine et al. (2001) further this concept by postulating that “Org charts are written by the victors. But hyperlinks are created by people finding other people they trust, enjoy, and, yes, in some ways love.”

So, as a pragmatist, I wondered if I was seeing real-world examples of this type of library. I see it in my library, where I work in technical services, every day. If someone has an idea for the library, even if it’s the Dean of the library, we email each other, or mention it during a meeting to make sure we get input from each other. We include our colleagues, and the idea becomes better and better because we are transparent, cohesive, and believe in communication. The org charge dissolves when the librarian is also a reference librarian, instructional librarian, and a subject selector. In ways that I never stopped to consider, my library is unhindered by processes and silos and bureaucracy. Does this mean that we still aren’t beholden to the bureaucracy that exists in our larger world? No, but I think that once we’ve latched on to the hyperlinked model, these ideas become contagious. As Booth et al. (2010) mention in their video, trust has to be a factor in changing the library to fit this dynamic landscape. Once we’ve established trust with our patrons and library administrators, we will all be speaking the hyperlinked language.



Booth, M., McDonald, S., & Tiffen, B. (2010, February 7). Library of the future in plain English [Video file]. Retrieved from

Levine, R., Locke, C., Searls, D., & Weinberger, D. (2011). The cluetrain manifesto. Basic books.

Stephens, M. (2011). The hyperlinked library. Retrieved from

SJSU MLIS journey

My MLIS journey has been exciting, challenging and ultimately really rewarding. While I’m REALLY looking forward to graduating (it’s not happening for a while, says the part-time student), I’m already getting nostalgic for all the interesting conversations and scholarship that I’ve been lucky to witness and read during this journey.

In the midst of my MLIS journey, I’ve been loving my travels with my family. We went to Japan this summer (I should probably be taking summer courses, but summers off with the kids are the best!), and the experience of traveling with 8 family members really was life-changing. From the beautiful cultural heritage sites, to eating delicious food, to hearing my children learn the language, this trip really taught me that one way to understand your own culture is to visit another country and see the drastic differences and heart-warming similarities. Here are some pictures of the beautiful countryside, and my adventurous partners-in-travel.

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